September 4, 2023 marked the 20th Anniversary of the passage of the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA). Impact Justice and the National PREA Resource Center recognize the many survivors of abuse — those who reported it and those who have endured in silence. Their strength motivates us to work every day to make the promise of PREA a reality. We also celebrate the many corrections and juvenile justice officials and community advocates across the country who are actively promoting sexual safety in jails, prisons, juvenile confinement facilities, lockups, and community corrections facilities.
We want to make sure you saw the CNN opinion piece by Judge Reggie B. Walton, longtime champion of PREA who chaired the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission. In his op-ed Judge Walton recognizes how far we have come over the past two decades while also emphasizing that the problem of sexual abuse in confinement is far from solved. He calls on corrections leaders, Congress, the Department of Justice, and ultimately all of us to honor the duty we have to protect people who have little or no ability to protect themselves.
Our collective work is far from done. It takes regular attention and dedication to prevent, detect, and respond to sexual abuse and harassment in confinement. Like Judge Walton, many of us at the PREA Resource Center have been involved for years in promoting sexual safety in confinement, work that reflects a broader institutional commitment by Impact Justice to transforming carceral environments in ways that improve living conditions and life outcomes for incarcerated people while also safeguarding their fundamental human rights. Twenty years after the passage of PREA, we hope you will join us in recommitting to this important work.